Game Dream 14: He’s Dead, Jim

Doc’s Blog … Confessions of a Game Addict: Game Dream 14: He’s Dead, Jim!
The Dream this week talks of death in RPG games:

Many “traditional” RPGs incorporate the possibility of the irrevocable death/disabling injury of a player character into their basic mechanics, yet often skirt the issue of what happens to the game in such a case, instead encouraging the GM to “fudge” the results if the GM doesn’t want a given PC or PCs to die.
How has your gaming group, current or previous, handled character deaths due to system-legitimate causes, i.e. combat or traps (assuming no intent on the part of another GM/player to kill a given PC or PCs)? Which methods worked well, and which didn’t?


What happens when the game systems says that a PC dies?
In a game like Amber, that doesn’t happen too often. In an environment that is diceless, a character death is a decision made by the GM (or, best) between the GM and the player.
Other systems are different. And I will discuss other systems, instead. Sometimes, the critical hit IS on the PC, the PC misses her saving throw.
What do I do? How do I handle it?
Well, I am not a fan of mindless or needless character death. A good death scene is one thing…but an arbitrary, dice-forced one is not one i usually like.
I’ve done many things–I’ve denied the dice, I’ve done critical hits, grave maiming of characters. I’ve had characters become captured, instead of outright killed.
And yes, at least once I can remember, a character did die…but it was a noble, Horatius at the Bridge sort of affair which saved everyone else’s neck.